Over the last year or so, I have found myself talking with a number of people who feel inadequate. Although feeling inadequate has always been an issue that many people have experienced, based upon my recent conversations, it occurred to me that nowadays (with the social media trap) it is easier than ever to feel ‘less than’ everybody else.
Social media provides us with a unique opportunity to stay close to friends and connect with new ones. It offers us a massive amount of free information, entertainment and allows us to know there are lots of people out there just like us. At the same time, social media has its downsides. It is highly addictive and continuously makes us only too aware of how well everybody else are doing. To some extent, social media has become the location for self-marketing and not from a business perspective. Photos and posts from others seem to suggest that they are doing amazingly well all the time. This, in turn, can make it only too difficult to feel like we are not doing well enough, are not successful enough, happy enough or in love enough.
For example, many people show photos of them and their beloved which is nice to see for all of those people in their life that love them. But when this is continuously done, it can be easy for those who do not have such a person in their lives to feel inadequate comparatively. Indeed, those who are married with children, when looking at their friend travelling the world and having an amazing time in amazing places, can feel inadequate in their experience of the world. We suffer from a FOMO (fear of missing out) and find ourselves on the wrong side of happiness.
However, this is not just another social media post bashing social media. Instead, like always, I prefer to think about what we can do given the situation as it is. I believe that the key is to change our perspective on social media as a whole. When you go to a formal occasion and everyone dresses up and looks fantastic, we don’t immediately think that is how they look 24/7. We have spent time in their house when they have been in their jammy jams! So, when we see those in our lives posting photo after photo where they are blissed out for example, the key is to remind yourself that this is a snapshot of their lives and it is a moment that makes them happy. Because it makes them happy, you will be happy too. The only reason you weren’t in the first place is you were comparing yourself to them and not thinking about them.
The same is true of FOMO. I always like to ask the question, ‘Would I give up EVERYTHING I have to get what the other person has?’ The answer inevitably is no. No matter how rich they are, successful or seemingly happy, I would never give up my experiences or the people in my life. So, I can let the experiences of others inspire me. I can let them live that life for me until such a time I decide to choose it over my current circumstances whatever they may be.
The real key to overcoming the social media trap is to stop comparing yourself to others period. You were born different, had different experiences and you will always be different. It is that difference between people that makes life interesting.